Archive for January, 2009

2nd week thoughts

January 25, 2009

After a somewhat shaky start, things are shaping up.  Have seen their files and am now poring through the first batch of scripts, and they’re definitely weaker than last year’s batch, but there’s always hope.  Warthogs are making the effort to gel, and I think most enjoyed themselves during the street market.  This year I too made the effort to mingle, and it surprised me to discover how infectious the spirit really was.  I’m glad I decided to get into the spirit of things this year.  J’s no was a bit of a letdown, but it’s not the end of the world.  At least I did try, and two days later it doesn’t seem as bad as it did then.

First week thoughts

January 18, 2009

All in all, not too bad a start.  The usual challenge is matching faces to names, which got off shaky but I think I’ve gotten the hang of it now.  May need a couple more days to iron our the associative tweaks but I should have all 69 down pat soon.  Rapport wise, still too early to tell, but a couple of alarm bells have already rung. Ability wise, the usual bad habits and erroneous presumptions to weed out and work on, but I haven’t seen and analysed enough of their written work to pin down specific grammar issues.  Warthogs are split; thank God I didn’t make do the plane analogy because it would seriously have fallen flat. Had to come down hard at first, which may have led to some early tensions, but let’s see what happens.  They have lots of potential, yet some have that perpetual angsty mien which is so characteristic of a humanities student at 18 but can get pretty annoying when you’re an ex-humanities student who isn’t comfortable with facing 18-year old mirrors of his angst.

Anyway, first assignment is due this week, so the Charge of the 69 is about to begin.  Hope I hold out. Already I’m grappling with this stupid cough that crept on me mid-week.

butterflies and cautious optimism

January 12, 2009

Yes, I still get them, every year before meeting new charges.  Met 2 groups today.  Cautiously optimistic.  Already can tell the presumed jokers are the ones that didn’t do very well last year.  Now racking my brains for ways to try and gel Warthog.  Fingers crossed.

Eve of the Restart

January 11, 2009

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I got these at a steal during Popular’s annual Bookfest last year, and it’s kinda fitting to have finished them in time for the restart tomorrow. Yes, I’m writing this just past midnight, and in less than 30 hours am due back for another year of war, albeit of a different sort. Both authors do real justice to the realities and nitty-gritties of preparing for and executing major combat operations, and for a while it felt good to pretend like you had a front-row seat to all the action.  If you’re into war fiction, take some time and indulge in this.

All this military fiction has seeped in me an urge to turn my charges into troops and the whole year ahead as a campaign to be won in the exam hall, but I’m not sure if everyone will take to the martial analogy.  I’m no Petraeus, and The Job is far from that of a Commanding General, but sometimes it feels like you have to lead from the front and give those 18-year-olds the confidence that they can get through the most trying year many have had to experience in a long time.  Godspeed to me.

As D-Day closes in, cabbies start to spill

January 8, 2009

So I was heading off to attend the annual staff meeting yesterday morning, hoping to get in a little earlier so I could finish the annual spring-cleaning, and the cab driver starts getting emotional on me.  Don’t get me wrong. I did stay in the cab for a whole 20 minutes after we reached our destination as he poured out his disbelief that he’s contemplating ending his “perfect” 17-year old marriage that has produced 3 teenage girls.  Maybe it’s a sign for me that relationships aren’t all their cut out to be.  Maybe it’s a portent of things, the year, to come.  Anyway I advised him to seek counselling instead of a lawyer.  Kinda feel sorry for the guy, but the way he described it, there was a regular Iagoian force at work oozing poison in his wife’s ear.  Whether he’s just polishing up his side of the story, I don’t know.  I just know that I couldn’t get much done before the meeting, because the first thing that landed on my desk were testimonials I had to vet for errors before they get officially printed.  So I went through them with a fine toothcomb, and found quite a few errors.  After mulling over them and crafting and recrafting the sentences for weeks last year, I really wanted to get them out of my system and hope never ever to see them again.  

The whole place was packed, with the sights and smells of new hairstyles, tans and generally refreshed faces.  The usual New Year greets and holiday recounts rang in the air.  You could really get caught up in the hive of activity.  By the time I was done with the testimonials, there was barely time for lunch, not that the canteen was operational anyway.  So I decided to go into the meeting hungry.

I sat at the back, and noticed how the numbers seemed to have ballooned.  On the agenda were the usual first day, back to the grind stuff, and the only interesting thing of note was what I had already guessed for some time: that they had assigned me the Warthog.  But further details would only be available from today onwards.  No rush.  I had already gone into the system for confirmation of my other charges, so the only thing left to find out was the time allocations.  I hope I don’t catch 7.50 days everyday this year.

Then onto the Combined meeting, which started late cos we ended late, and yet more of the same.  Some of the HS bigwigs were seated in our row, and they kept on turning their heads cos they weren’t too happy with L’s rather loud prattling the whole time, which she was totally oblivious to.  I have a bad feeling she’ll get gently spoken to sooner or later. We found out we’re getting a grand for LDS, which was the best news of the day.   More New Year greets and holiday recounts during teabreak, but I was disturbed by people’s reactions when they learned I was getting the Warthog.  Like I was headed into a quagmire.  And of course all that belated reassuring only makes you more paranoid.  Oh well.  Worrying about it won’t help.  I’ll just have to head in Monday and deal.  

And of course I had to break the state of things to LL, cos she asked. But she was rather sweet about it, messaging me later last night with good thoughts  That’s not something I will enjoy doing – telling people – as we get into the year and people begin to remember and request for updates.  But I guess most are just genuinely concerned.  Still, I kinda get the feeling that 2009 will be not the least less interesting than 2008 was.

1st major-ticket purchase of 2009

January 5, 2009

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The DVD player in my Panasonic system had been giving me problems for some time now, but I’d put off buying a new one cos the rest of the set was in pretty much ok condition.  But it soon got to the point when I couldn’t watch a lot of what I wanted without getting a DVD read error problem, so that’s when I decided to shop for a new system, and this Sony set caught my eye for its price and its features.  I’d not been a Sony customer since the days of the Discman, but 850W later and some good vibes from both DVDs and trance CDs alike and I’ve been won over.  At last I can experience the thumbing bass and grooves the way they were meant to.  A great steal of a buy.

2nd post of 2009

January 1, 2009

Well, technically it should have been the first post, but I decided to blog the book review first since I did finish the book in 2008, but in any case there isn’t much to say anyway.  I didn’t really have plans for the night, but then FS messaged and asked if I wanted to hang out, so we met in town with his friend C, had coffee and viewed the fireworks from afar before calling it a night.  Was pleasantly surprised to get New Year greets from ET, who’s probably ringing in 2009 with her family and friends up north.  I will miss her and the rest of them, no matter who I get this year; like I’ve said previously, the first one is always special.

So what do I look forward to in 2009? Being able to move on after 5 years.  Greater confidence at work and less self-doubt all around.  Greater self-awareness and level-headedness.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about getting a car, but of course I hardly need one.  Still the temptation is there. But I guess the first thing is to get ready for the new batch – that means going back in and start getting things together.  If 2009 is anything like 2008, it’s going to be another roller-coaster ride, but with sharper turns.  I must hang on.

BSG Crit Lite good for beginners

January 1, 2009

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If you, like me, can’t watch a critically acclaimed show without thinking hard about it, and yet haven’t really kept up with your cultural studies reading list, then this is a good primer for more heavy-going BSG criticism.  The essays, mostly written by authors of science fiction stories or SF aficionados, are short, look at BSG from various angles, and provide useful and interesting perspectives on them, but don’t expect to find anything new or mind-blowing. So if you’re looking to get into BSG crit in a light way, this is pretty easy to read. The most conceptually challenging piece was Clifton’s, and the issues on Artificial Consciousness dealt by Lloyd in his faux-minutes of meeting are worth taking a look. Then there’s the BSG (TOS) lover whose essay bashing the remake was so…intense…that I wondered if he actually sat back to demolish what he obviously considers inferior without the critical perspective of academia.  But wait a minute. This is hardly an academic work, as the Smart Pop series imprint reveals.  So I’ll let it slide.  And yes, this could use an update now with season 4.5 starting this Jan.